Australia vs Spain World Cup 2014: End of an era for Vicente del Bosque's ageing former champions

David Villa definitely retiring and others may follow as Spain look for fresh start

Spain’s remarkable cycle of success came to an official close in Curitiba yesterday and the sense of an era ending was underlined by two men in particular – coach Vicente del Bosque and striker David Villa.

Del Bosque admitted after the 3-0 win over Australia that his future at the helm of the deposed world champions would be “known in the next week” as Spanish football looks to the future. Although Spain restored some pride following their opening Group B defeats against the Netherlands and Chile, this has been their worst World Cup campaign since 1998 and a brutal fall from grace after successive triumphs at Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.

“We will talk and we’ll look for the best solution for Spanish football, without any drama,” said Del Bosque. “Today we complete six years where we have practically always been top of the FIFA ranking. It is a generation of footballers who have created a way of playing. On this occasion it was our turn to lose and we have to do so with our heads held high.”

“The future of the national team is in safe hands,” he added. “I think we have a good base and today you saw that.”

Spain’s valedictory victory came via goals from David Villa, Fernando Torres and substitute Juan Mata. In the case of Villa, Spain’s record scorer, his opening goal – a clever backheel finish – was the perfect way to sign off at the end of an international career that has brought 59 goals from 97 international appearances.

There were tears from Villa when he was substituted during the second half and he admitted it was hard shutting the door on playing for his country.

“I would like to play for the national team until I am 55 because I have always loved it, but I realise this is impossible,” said the 32-year-old, who will join Manchester City’s MLS franchise, New York City, from the start of the 2015 season.

“The World Cup has finished, I’ve taken the decision to go to the MLS and I won’t be playing for a few months. It is complicated. The normal thing is that it ends here. We will see after six months but I’ll keep on working as ever and if the manager wants me I’ll be delighted. That said, you have to be realistic.”

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